We all know Hemingway’s attitude toward the woman. A lot of researchers still have doubts why Hemingway simply didn’t like a woman. So, it isn’t a surprise that even in this book he described them in two utmost categories – the ones who are completely dominant, and the second one who are totally submissive like a Catherine Barkley in this book.
While you are reading it is easy to see how our words are supported. Catherine played the role of a submissive. Once he even said, “I have a child, and that makes me contented not to do anything.” This is a phrase which opens a real attitude of the author to women, and his stereotypical point of view. As you know some time ago women where just humans who were needed to take care of children and the house.
So, if talking about her in details, she is a British Voluntary Aid Detachment (also a second-tier nurse). Catherine is in grief over her fiancé's recent death at the start of the novel. And the first time we meet her, we feel absolutely sorry about it. Later, she becomes a love of Henry who offers a tempting rebound, and she dives into this new diverting love. You know, in this book she even seems to be a little bit strange. She is described as a woman of completely free feelings: she falls in love so easily and is even ready to have sex with a complete stranger. However, she gains some measure of independence later on, as when she helps Henry row the boat across the lake for their escape, but she is typically submissive and eager to please with Henry (though, to her credit, so is he with her). Like Henry, she believes the world is out to destroy people's happiness.
Catherine Barkley in the Essays